Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Back to Telling Stories

I'm heading to a blogging conference and it occurred to me the other day that, while I've not been very good about blogging lately — though I want to and, as a writer, need to and plan to (which is why I'm going to a blogging conference) — I should get some business cards that actually show off my blog.

A good friend and fabulous designer offered to help during a spare hour or two at work and this is it. The other side has my contact info.

But then it occurred to me that if I give this card out, which I totally plan to, people might actually go to my blog to see what it's like.

Which is when I basically realized I have nothing to show. Well, that's not true. I have posts here. And I like to think most are evergreen. But the last post is from April and the one before, well, too long to say.

My reasons are good. Life has been filled with unexpected turns for the past two-plus years — most of those turns unwelcome, from one family illness to another to a colony of cats of which I had no choice but to take control.

As I tell people, because I feel it's apt, it's like my life was like one of those dioramas you make in grade school. You know, like in a shoebox, you create a little world.

For whatever it's worth, messy or neat, my life was that diorama, I tell people. Then, gesturing as if I'm holding an open shoe box, I shake it violently before dumping the proverbial contents onto the floor. That is what I feel has happened to my life as it was.

Dramatic maybe. And I blame no one. Life happens. But that's how I felt.

Not all the changes have been bad. Though I would not choose to repeat any of them if I could go back. But I have tried to find lessons and gifts and quite often humor from each experience, each heartache, each disappointment. And that is what I want — what I need — to write about.

As a girlfriend told me two years ago — after I told her everything I was dealing with, so much it brought her to tears: "You have to write about this. You could help so many people."

I hadn't thought about it like that. As a writer, I knew it was certainly great material. So that is why I thought a blogging conference was just what I needed right now.

Well, that and the inspiration you get from handing out business cards telling people to "look here."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Fever

Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offers us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time. — Albert Camus, Notebooks

I don't know what Spring Fever means to most people. I only know I was so overcome with a feeling I could not understand one day as I walked home from school that I decided: This must be it.

I was eight, maybe nine when I found myself in the midst of a moment so perfect it caught my breath.

The sky was impossibly blue, the air gentle and warm. The clouds so perfectly white and soft I could have curled up and slept in them.

And the trees, with their brilliant green buds and flowers so delicate, so sublime — rose, white, pink, lavender — I wanted to leap into the branches. There is something maternal about a tree.

Part of me ached to embed myself in the moment. Maybe forever.

This was visceral. This was intoxicating.

What I felt was profound. Ineffable. Maybe it was even an epiphany. Only I wasn’t sure what exactly I was realizing.

I do know I was strangely conflicted, in awe of such beauty, such perfection, something so ephemeral it hurt.

I wanted to cry.

At once I felt joy. Love. Happiness. Melancholy. Sorrow.

I felt it all.

I was overwhelmed.

This, I decided, is the fever. The ailment. The ache. The Spring Fever.

Maybe I recognized my own impermanence and the inevitable passage of time. That we cannot hold onto things forever but can only recognize them now, in the moment. Or forever miss the opportunity.

I like to think I connected with something deeper than myself. The world. Nature. All the time that ever was and all the time that will ever be.

Hold on. Look. Listen. Smell. Feel.

Take me with you, make me part of you.

I wanted to live in that moment. To possess it. To keep it. But of course, I could not.

Spring, this time of new life, would pass. Yes it promised summer but that too would pass. And on it would go.

We all age, die, move on. Though I wanted to stay, I could only behold this moment.

And in that I ached.

I don’t get so overwhelmed these days. My mind, I imagine, is filled with more thoughts that get in the way.

Today I went running. I passed a church along my route, whose sprawling lawn nurtures broad-branched trees, begging you to linger.

One with delicate white flowers swayed in the breeze like a giant dandelion puff. It captured me.

I did not want to cry. But I did slow down.

And I thought:

Hold on. Look. Listen. Smell. Feel.

(I originally posted this June 22, 2007. Then today I came across the quote by Albert Camus which expressed my feelings perfectly.)